Whether it’s with fingers or with forks, eating is always a highlight for weary event attendees.

Add some extra flare by getting creative with the ways you serve your attendees food. Science says we really “eat with our eyes.” Knowing that, if the food looks good, you’ve already won half the battle. Ready to win over eyes at your next event?

Incorporate a theme

Themes are an easy way to add a dimension of creativity to your food service options. Are wizards and magic involved? Use jars and odd shaped containers for your “potions.” Football? Stuff helmets with dry food options. The possibilities are endless.

Shrink things down

Smaller portions can mean more serving possibilities. Spoons, small kitchen mortars, toothpicks, and so on, can all be used to serve up your mini portions. Putting effort into delivering the small servings shows your attendees an attention to detail that both the eyes and tastebuds will appreciate.

     Using cocktail glassware for plating

Cocktail glasses are a terrific way to serve food with a twist. Martini and champagne glasses are already decorative and appealing in shape – why not stuff them with food? Smaller portions? Use a shot glass. Guests will be both surprised and impressed by your craftiness.

Think outside the box

When it comes to plating and serving food, your imagination has no limit. Look around your environment for inspiration. There are plenty of food and non-food items meant to store things. Your just need something easy to pick up and move. Wooden planks, fry baskets, test tubes, toothpicks; the list goes on and on. Have fun with it!

Keep up with more way to impress guests at your next event by following @TheGICC!

You know what they say, “April showers, spring flowers…in your breakfast!”

Wait, you haven’t heard that one?

Well, it’s true! The mystical wonders of this world include edible flowers.

So if you’re looking to “wow” your guests with something unexpected, flowers that go beyond garnish are the next move.

Here’s a handy list of well-known flowers that are safe (and tasty) to eat:

LAVENDER

Lavender isn’t just good for calming lotions, but also for sprinkling in champagne or over chocolate dessert: it’s sweet and naturally fragrant. Click here for a dessert recipe featuring lavender.

PANSIES
Looking for a hint of mint? Pansies are our go-to pick. They work wonderfully in herbaceous cocktails and fruit salads. For a quick and simple hors d’oeuvre, spread some cream cheese on a cracker and top with a pansy.

ROSES

Roses are subtly floral, with a hint of fruity, and a lovely addition to soups, salads, teas desserts and even jams. Versatile is Rose’s middle name!

VIOLETS

Violets come in a variety of colors, making them an aesthetic detail for everything from salads to iced drinks. They are most gorgeous when crystallized and used to top desserts, like a frosted cake.

Has your curiosity been tickled? If so, let us know by tweeting which flower you’re most excited to try at @TheGICC!

If the spring season could be described with flavors, it would be earthy, fresh and bright.

Are you thinking of arugula, radish and asparagus? So are we!

Spring is the optimal time of year for serving dishes featuring crisp and refreshing veggies as a fitting complement to chicken dishes or adding local strawberries and blueberries to a vibrant-looking salad.

If wanting to bring springtime to attendees’ plates, we recommend choosing dishes where seasonal ingredients like mushrooms, spinach and bok choy are the stars:

If you’re looking for an indulgent meal….

  • Creamy Mushroom Pasta

    • Start with a tablespoon of butter in a skillet; let it brown add a handful of sliced mushrooms (cremini and shiitake work well) and let them cook down.

    • After the mushrooms are nice and browned, add a bit of heavy cream—not too much, just enough to make it all creamy.

    • While the mushrooms are browning, boil a pot of heavily-salted water and add a box of pasta. Once the pasta is done, drain and add to the skillet with the buttered mushrooms and grated Parm and mix it all up.

    • Add a sprinkle of chives on top for a quick pop of color. Once plated, top it with as much parmesan as you can and give it another good stir.

Or something that’s still rich, but lighter than pasta?

  • Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

    • Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain. Discard liquid.

    • Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft.

    • Stir in rest of ingredients and serve hot.

Or easy ways to showcase this Chinese staple?

  • Bok Choy Slaw (and more!)

    • In a large bowl, combine the bok choy, red cabbage, shredded carrots, cilantro, and mango. Toss to combine.

    • In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the slaw. Garnish with additional cilantro leaves.

Which dish or ingredient feels most spring-like to you? Send us a tweet with your answer at @TheGICC!

We pride ourselves in providing the freshest food and boldest flavors year after year. 2018 is shaping up to be one of the most delicious and innovative years in catering and these are 3 trends we expect to make it to your plate this year!

Barbecue

Once reserved for backyard parties, barbecue flavors have begun to mingle with international entrées and sides. This classic American dish is popular because of its smoky flavors and pure tenderness foodies have grown to love.


Instagrammable Items

Purely in the presentation, catering must be camera-ready. Plating and serving styles play a large part in the perception of the food before it ever meets anyone’s taste buds. Dress it all up and give guests something to share on social media!

Nostalgia

The last (and maybe most enjoyable) trend for 2018 we see making it to catered events are nostalgic foods. Just because we’ve grown up doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with our food! Take attendees on a trip down memory lane by catering with a s’mores station or popcorn machine.

And that wraps up our preview of the 2018 catering trends you should watch. We’ll be making room on our plates for all of these. Will you? Let us know what you’re most excited about by tweeting at us at @TheGICC!

Call CulinAero a matchmaker, because these unexpected flavor pairings will have you feeling like you’ve been hit with Cupid’s [culin]arrow.

Taste one of these 5 favorite flavor pairings and you’ll be in love:

Pecans + Bacon + Cheese = Pecan-Smoked Bacon & Cheese Croissant

Maybe we’re nuts, but we think bacon is even better when you throw in pecans. Pecan-smoked bacon inside of a cheesy croissant will have you saying “Oui” to breakfast!

Melon + Meat = Seasonal Melon & Sliced Prosciutto

Prosciutto and fruit is a pairing that has stood the test of time, yet it continues to surprise and delight CulinAero guests to this day.

Shrimp + Southwestern = Fried Coconut Shrimp over Black Bean & Corn Salsa, Guacamole Cream & Tortilla Crisp

This isn’t a pairing, it’s a partnership. Coconut shrimp works perfectly with the surprising spice of southwestern flavors in this dish.

Fish + Squash = Grilled Grouper Butternut Squash Risotto Cake & Lemon Butter Sauce

Fish and chips? How about fish and squash? Grilled to perfection, grouper’s mild flavor complements the butternut squash risotto flawlessly. Top it off with a lemon butter sauce and your tastebuds will thank you.

Gouda + Shrimp + Grits = Smoked Gouda Grits Martini with Georgia Coast White Shrimp

Keep the hors d’oeuvres unexpected with this match. CulinAero changes it up a Southern classic with a ‘tini twist.

From All-American classic fare to International cuisine, even the pickiest palates will be pleased with CulinAero’s combinations. See for yourself! Schedule a private tasting to sample our creations and customize a menu for your event.

Autumn is known for its pumpkins and gourds, but what produce is in-season in the winter?
Plenty of comforting foods that make up the perfect ingredients for a cozy meal. When it’s cold
outside, warmth is something you seek. Curl up next to the fire and enjoy the freshest flavors
from the following winter meals.

Nothing is more comforting in the cold of the wintertime than a big steaming bowl of creamy
soup. At the peak of freshness this time of year, versatile parsnips make a delicious soup when
roasted. The flavor of these root vegetables, much like carrots, is accented well with seasonings
like nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice, evoking the taste of the holidays on a spoon.

A hot appetizer menu item, especially in the South, is brussel sprouts. Most often oven-roasted
and seasoned with a hint of bacon, these sprouts are a delicious precursor to southern-cooked
comfort food like fried chicken and mac and cheese. Pro tip: the smaller the brussel sprout, the
more tender and flavorful!

Citrusy fruits may seem like a refreshing summer treat, but oranges and mandarin oranges are
best enjoyed in the winter months. A warm, early morning treat of gooey orange cinnamon
rolls with a frosted glaze will make even the coziest cuddlebugs get out of their warm beds for a
taste. Oranges are also the perfect cocktail add-in to warm up your winter event.

As a starchy substitute to the white potato, turn any meal from boring to exquisite with just a
simple replacement – the sweet potato. We suggest turning a traditional sweet potato into
cubed hash with rosemary, kale and caramelized onions. The best part of this meal? It can be
served with breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Did we leave off your favorite winter ingredient?
Tweet us your #1 cold weather food at @TheGICC!

 

One of our favorite things about sharing our love for catering is how playful we can be with food puns! Here is a look back at some of our top picks from this year.

Morning event? Don’t settle for anything less than an egg-cellent breakfast.

 

Our catering and your event will go really “gouda” together.

 

Picky eater? We’ll customize the menu however you like. We don’t “carrot” all!

 

We just ‘cant’aloupe with how fresh our produce is and you won’t be able to either.

 

Leave attendees feeling stuffed. Choose to cater with CulinAero.

 

Our catering is sure to “appeal” to your attendees.

 

Event planning has you feeling green? “Romaine” calm. “Lettuce” take care of the catering.

 

“Grape” events start with a little cheese.

 

Donut even try to pretend you’re not hungry right now.

 

Don’t be “shellfish.” Offer our shrimp appetizer to all of your attendees.

 

Have a favorite food pun? Share it with us @TheGICC.

5 Rules for Perfect Catering

November 20, 2017

Meetings and conference events have evolved quite a bit over the years moving away from those boring sandwich platters. Instead, teams take this opportunity to treat employees, clients and attendees to an out-of-office experience offering better menus, a fun atmosphere and top notch technology. Although, most would agree that food plays the biggest role in the success of an event, which is why we created the ultimate catering cheat sheet for planning made easy.

Rule #1: Budget

The phrase “champagne taste on a beer budget” is all too familiar in the catering industry. There are simple ways to conserve on food without skimping on quality. Use passed hors d’oeuvres instead of buffet style. Opt for small plates to help stretch consumption. At CulinAero, we will design a meal and menu to impress within your budget.

Rule #2: Choose a Theme

This concept might seem a bit childish, but deciding on a theme sets the vibe for the event and can bring excitement to mealtime! It also helps guide the direction of decorations, floral arrangements and the menu itself. If it’s more of a social event, the food should be playful and trendy. For a professional conference, dining may be more suitable for a sit-down, traditional lunch.

Rule #3: Set the Bar

This depends entirely on the type of event you are hosting and it objectives. Decide how you want to proceed with offering libations to your guest. If you choose an open bar option, you can select a balanced drink list that caters to everyone’s needs, from beer and wine only, a signature cocktail, and/or well liquor. If it’s not in your budget, provide a cash bar option. If hosting a cash bar, make sure that your attendees are aware, so they can plan accordingly. Alternatively, you can meet in the middle with a “half and half” option. Offer attendees one or two free drink tickets, then open a cash bar. This lightens the mood of requiring attendees to pay for their drinks.

Rule #4: Schedule

Sure, caterers are responsible for keeping your attendees well fed, but you might not realize there’s more to it than that. Timing is everything. You want to make sure they are retaining the information instead of focusing on their salad dressing. Receiving the agenda in advance can help reduce a lack of concentration and minimize irritability all while enabling the caterers to serve the food when it is freshly prepared.

Rule #5: Go Green

The GICC and CulinAero are ready to roll out the green carpet for your event. In fact, choosing a more sustainable means of service is not only easy on the environment, but also on the budget. Using packaging that is biodegradable, serving foods that are locally produced, sourced and eco-friendly will go a long way.

Need help planning your next catering event? Tweet us at @TheGICC.

 

Meeting planners, it’s cold outside! Help attendees escape the winter weather with a DIY warm beverage.
Plan a festive hot cocoa bar for your event with this cheat sheet!

Supplies:
Hot Cocoa and/or Coffee
Cups
Spoons
Napkins
Table Decorations (pine needles and cranberries)

 

 

Toppings:
Marshmallows
Whipped Cream
Chocolate Chips
Peppermint Sticks (Bonus! Doubles as a stirring stick)

 

 

Add-ins:
Milk (include non-dairy options, like coconut or almond milk)
Chocolate Syrup
Ground cinnamon
Adult add-ins!
Bailey’s
Kahlua
Amaretto
Frangelico
Vanilla Vodka
Peppermint Schnapps

We can’t wait to see what you come up with! Tweet us your own hot cocoa bar at @TheGICC.

Cater to Cranberry Cravings

November 14, 2017

Trends may come and go, but cranberries have been a staple in holiday menus for centuries. Believed to have been served at the first Thanksgiving dinner, it’s no wonder we see these tart little berries appear in dishes, drinks and desserts from November to December. (Bonus: cranberries are an easy way to incorporate cost-friendly and seasonal produce into your catering menu!)

Dish

Cranberry sauce is done again and again, each year. Don’t bore your attendees with the same old thing. Why not garnish a classic vegetable side with a cran twist? Try a new take on green beans with the addition of cranberries and slivered almonds.

Source locally, then string and cut your green beans before either sauteing or roasting as normal, preferably with garlic. Once cooked, add your green beans to a large bowl or serving dish and toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, slivered almonds dried cranberries. Want to make it tad more savory? Crumble up and top the dish off with some bacon!

Drink

Cranberries are the ultimate garnish and flavoring for big batch cocktails! Make it easy by mixing ginger ale, cranberry juice, vodka (or gin) and fresh lime juice. Top with whole frozen cranberries, lime slices, green pear and a sprig of greenery. Take the cocktail from big pictures to mason jars for some character!

Dessert

Keep dessert bite-sized with Cranberry tarts, bars, cookies or mini cheesecakes! There are so many ways you can take a classic dessert you may already be serving and top them with cranberries for a holiday twist.

Which cranberry dishes would you like to see included on your holiday menu? Tweet us at @TheGICC!